Carpenter Bee Sting: Description and Control

Carpenter Bee Sting

Common carpenter bee – belongs to the Apidae family, representing a species of solitary bees. This species is rather large – the body length can reach 3 cm.

According to the verbal description, the carpenter bee looks more like a big furry fly than a bee in the usual sense. Carpenter bees are black in color or iridescent blue-violet wings.

Due to such a prominent appearance among the people, this species is sometimes divided into purple and blue bees, although they differ exclusively in shades of color that prevail in the wings.

Carpenter bees dig a small cell out of the tunnel they created, and then form a ball of pollen inside the cell. It lays a single egg near the pollen ball and closes the cell with a partition made of chewed wood. A few days after laying six or seven eggs this way, she dies. Females are more likely to sting if interrupted while they are replenishing their nests. The larvae mature six to seven weeks after the eggs hatch.

Carpenter Bee Damage

Female carpenter bees chew half-inch-wide holes in wood surfaces and then create tunnels, chambers, and cells for larvae in the wood. A small pile of coarse sawdust under the hole indicates that the carpenter bees are at work. One season’s work by a single carpenter bee does not cause serious damage, but if several bees use the same entrance hole and build additional tunnels from the main tunnel, the damage can be extended. Bees often return to using the same hole year after year, digging more tunnels and galleries.

In addition to bee damage, woodpeckers can peck at wood in an attempt to reach the larva inside, and rotting fungi can attack holes in the surface of the wood.

Remedies for carpenter bee sting

Carpenter Bee Control

Begin your carpenter bee control program by painting all unfinished wood surfaces with oil or latex paint. Staining is not as effective as varnish. Carpenter bees avoid freshly painted wooden surfaces, but over time, the protection wears off.

The residual effects of treating wood with insecticides only last for two weeks, so keeping wood treated surfaces is an endless and nearly impossible task. Carpenter bees do not receive a lethal dose of insecticide from tunneling into insecticide-treated wood, but the insecticide acts as a deterrent. For treating the area around the holes apply insecticides having carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin, or resmethrin too. Seal the holes with a small ball of aluminum foil and then caulk approximately 36 to 48 hours after the insecticide treatment.

Carpenter natural water repellent

If you prefer to take a natural approach, try using Boric acid around carpenter bees’ entry holes.

Pyrethrins are helpful insecticides derived from chrysanthemums naturally. They are less toxic than most insecticides and do a good job of repelling carpenter bees. Spray around the inlet hole and then plug the hole as you would when using other insecticides.

  • The carpenter bee sting causes the transmission of a poisonous agent ( toxins, etc.) from the insect to the human body.
  • The sting causes burning, pain and swelling; moreover, only in subjects who show a specific hypersensitivity, is it responsible for an allergic reaction.
  • In cases without hypersensitivity, the lesion tends to disappear completely in a day or two.
  • Recall that carpenter bee stings, unlike most insect bites , almost always provide for the anchoring of the sting (often equipped with a poison sac) to the skin .

What to do

  • Prevent carpenter bee stings by acting as specified in the paragraph on prevention.
  • In the absence of allergic reactions, once the sting has been taken, it is possible to relieve the symptoms by proceeding as follows:

Remove the carpenter bee sting:

  1. Quickly: it is important to remove it within the first 20 after which the damage can worsen.  
  2. Using a credit card or blunt blade or applying pressure with your fingers.
  3. Cleanse the area.
  4. Apply cold compresses, even with ice.
  5. Apply drugs against insect bites.
  6. Take advantage of herbal remedies.

What NOT to do

  • Avoid breaking the poison bag. This often happens when using tweezers.
  • Scratch the surface of the wheel. In most cases:
  • It aggravates the symptoms.
  • It causes an excoriation that tends to become infected.

What to eat

  • There are no foods that can prevent or cure bee stings.
  • On the other hand, there are nutrients that have an anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating action.
  • In the case of a single sting, the change in diet is not very significant. However, if the strings are multiple, it is logical to think that the inflammatory reaction can be of considerable entity.

The most suitable nutrients are:

  • Omega 3: these are essential fatty acids that have an important anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating function. They are mainly found in:
  •  Fatty blue fish: sardines, mackerel, bonito, alletterato etc.
  • Algae.
  • Some oil seeds: especially flax, almonds, kiwi, grape seeds etc.
  • Derived oils: fish, algae, krill and specific oil seeds.

Vitamin and saline antioxidants:

  • Vitamin A: in the form of retinol and carotenoids. It is found in milk, cheese, liver, egg yolk, orange or red fruit and vegetables ( carrots, peppers, pumpkins, etc.).
  • Vitamin C: found mainly in some vegetables and sour fruit: lettuce, parsley, kiwi, citrus, peppers, etc.
  • Vitamin E: it is mainly found in the germ of cereals, in some oil legumes, in most of the oil seeds and in the extraction oils: wheat germ, corn, sunflower, soybean, nut, relative oils etc.
  • Zinc and selenium: contained mainly in meat, fish products, milk and derivatives, eggs.
  • Other antioxidants: especially of polyphenolic origin. They are abundant in vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, red wine etc.

What NOT to Eat

In the event of a carpenter bee sting, there are no real foods that are not recommended.

On the other hand, certain molecules and metabolic conditions predispose to inflammation and could be counterproductive:

  • Obesity: Excess fat tissue releases inflammation mediators.
  • Hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus : they also worsen the state of global inflammation.
  • Excess of omega 6 fatty acids: contained above all in some oil seeds and related fats (for example peanuts ), they should maintain a correct ratio with omega 3. If present in excess, some omega 6s could increase inflammation factors.
  • Excess saturated and hydrogenated fats : present mainly in sweet and savory snacks, fast foods, etc., they exert a negative effect on systemic inflammation.

Natural Cures and Remedies

They are natural remedies for carpenter bee sting, all those made from herbs with anti-inflammatory action. Particularly:

Pharmacological treatment

Pharmacological remedies for carpenter bee sting (in the absence of allergy) are:

  • Topical anti-inflammatory , anesthetic and antihistamine ointments, which contain:
  • Hydrocortisone.
  • Local anesthetics: lidocaine or pramoxine.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Itch ointments, such as calamine lotion.
  • Non- steroidal anti- inflammatory and pain relievers by mouth:
  • Paracetamol.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Oral steroid anti-inflammatories and pain relievers (short courses, up to 3-5 days).


The prevention of bee stings mainly concerns the behavioral aspect.

It is necessary to keep in mind that bees:

  • They are more aggressive in the summer.
  • They are more aggressive when the weather is unstable.
  • They are more aggressive when annoyed or there is a conflict between various colonies or other insects ( wasps , hornets, etc.).
  • I am able to sting through clothing; however, these can protect against sting anchoring.
  • They are strongly bothered by:
  • Human breath.
  • Perfumes, sun creams and deodorants .
  • Abrupt movements.
  • Killing of their own kind.
  • Dark colors.

In addition, I recommend you:

  • Avoid going to places at risk (wood sheds, fruit and flowering trees, etc.).
  • Avoid the above risk factors.
  • Avoid walking barefoot.
  • Always prefer to wear white or light-colored clothes.
  • Provide homes with mosquito nets.

Medical treatments

There are no alternative medical remedies to the removal of the carpenter bee sting, to drug treatment and to the application of phytotherapeutic methods.

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